Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls

Alabama Shakes
Boys & Girls
(ATO Records)

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If Janis Joplin had lived to see the current crop of music, she’d definitely be proud to hear Alabama Shakes. The Southern rockers have managed to capture a mood so vintage that it sounds like Boys & Girls would be best heard playing over a classic car’s radio or in a jukebox.

Frontwoman Brittany Howard has a versatile voice that can go from Robert Plant to Marlena Shaw within a breath.  Bandmates Heath Fogg, Zac Cockrell, and Steve Johnson back Howard up with arrangements that are aged to perfection. Though the band is only a few years old, its debut LP already sounds like a classic.

“Rise to the Sun,” for instance, combines the dreamy feeling of 1950’s rock with a good bit of soul. “You Ain’t Alone” features the sharp guitar parts so prevalent in doo-wop, while the brief  “Goin’ to the Party” chronicles a night out and the journey home, while “Heartbreaker” is a piece of retro finery.

It’s clear from the consistent sound of Boys & Girls that Alabama Shakes aren’t just a band gleaning inspiration from another era. Their sound is all their own–gritty, but beautiful and deserving to be blasted.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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